Rescue Finally Near in Chilean Mining Disaster

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On Tuesday, the final arrangements are being put in place for the rescue of 33 miners in Chile. Trapped 1,970 feet underground, the miners have been cramped in a tiny space for more than two months—the longest anyone has survived this type of disaster. With the final rescue slated for 7 p.m. EST tonight, reporters are examining the rescue workers' plan and the toll this disaster has taken in Chile:

  • It's Going to Be an Incredible Moment, wites Olivia Lang at the BBC: "For more than two months, the men have been living 2km beneath the earth's surface, in a claustrophobic, dusty chamber the size of a living room. If all goes to plan, they will endure an intense, nerve-wracking 20-minute journey strapped into a tiny cage - only to face the reality of emotional families and the scrutiny of the media."
  • Here's How the Rescue Will Go Down  Al Jazeera explains:

  • Some Serious Risks Remain, PBS New Hour explains:

  • Lots of Anxiety All Around, writes Tim Padgett at Time:
The shaft's complex angle and curves remain a worry, albeit a smaller one now, which is one reason it was thought the rescue wouldn't start until Wednesday or later. But given the euphoric expectations the miners experienced when the drill broke through Saturday morning, officials feel it's best for both the mental and physical health of the men — who after a brief time with family members will be helicoptered to a Copiapó hospital for observation — to get them up as quickly as possible if the shaft is deemed safe. "The less anxiety this process generates at this point, the better," one government official told me. The men will be greatly helped during their ascent, those officials hope, by wearing a helmet with special communication equipment that will let rescue personnel talk them through every inch of the journey.
  • It's Taken an International Effort, writes The Los Angeles Times editorial board:
Contact with the world above brought hundreds of government officials, Red Cross workers and volunteers (who prepare 500 meals a day for family members) to the site. It also brought cutting-edge technology to solve the dual challenges of keeping the miners alive and devising a rescue. Twenty private mining companies from around the world — usually rivals — coordinated efforts to penetrate the rock, loaning equipment and personnel; the state-run mining company fashioned a telephone system through a second probe hole. The miners have received, food, water, medicine, dominoes, MP3 players and videos to ward off depression, and they have traded letters with family members. One man proposed to his girlfriend; another promised his wife the honeymoon they never had.
  • It United the Country, writes Stephen Bodzin at The Christian Science Monitor: "The collapse of the mine has helped pull together a geographically disparate, class-conscious, and often individualistic country." He interviews Bernarda Lorca, a disabled woman working with a group to provide financial and moral support to the miners. "The people are more united," she says. "Chile is very divided. The rich are rich and the poor are poor. Here, people who might be a bit snobbier have to walk in the same mud as everyone else. You can't walk around here in polished shoes."

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